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Adafruit Resistor Helper Tie 


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Adafruit Resistor Helper Tie 

Written By: caitlinsdad 


Clothes Iron (1) 

Scissors (1) 

hand sewing essentials (1) 

inkjet printer (1) 

punch awl (1) 

seam ripper tool (1) 


Necktie (1) 

Iron-on print transfers for light or dark 
material use (1) 

Brass split-end paper fasteners (1) 

clear packaging tape (1) 

Fusible iron-on interfacing or embroidery 
fabric stabilizer (1) 


Nope, you can't get one there, you gotta make it yourself. 

Unless you are one of those who can remember the entire color code for 4- and 5-band 
marked resistors (test later on how many possible combinations there are; I'm still working 
on wiring up CAT-5 correctly), you need the help of a reference chart or you can use the 
handy papercraft Adafruit Resistor Helper . Seeing that it is Father's Day soon, what better 
time to give the gift of a tie? Of course, for the geek and technically inclined, a hacked tie 
would be even better. 

You can make a resistor tie from scratch but you can also repurpose old ties too. Do 
something with those old power ties to make them current. 

© Make Projects 

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Adafruit Resistor Helper Tie 

I am just going to use a tie I found at the dollar store (really $2, it had a cool sparkly techno 
vibe in the pattern) and make a few quick mods to implant the papercraft resistor helper. 

Step 1 — Adafruit Resistor Helper Tie 

• Take a look at Adafruit's Resistor Helper guide to make the standalone resistor helper. 

• Download the PDF of the resistor helper. 

• This papercraft resistor calculator was designed by Adafruit with Matthew Borgatti . 

• Adafruit Resistor Helper 

• Print out one copy for reference. 

• Print out one more to cut up and assemble the color wheels. 

• Print one copy out on your iron-on transfer paper. Know how to use your iron-on transfer 
paper. The one I used is for application on dark materials. It requires that the image not be 
reversed and it must be printed on the surface that will peel away from the backing sheet. 
It is applied directly on where you want it to stick. 

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Adafruit Resistor Helper Tie 

Step 2 

• Follow the instructions on the PDF. The color wheels are paired front and back and are 
marked in which order they will be assembled into the case. 

• You can roughly cut out each pair of color wheels and glue the corresponding parts back to 
back. Place under a weight like a telephone book to keep them flat while the glue dries. 

• When dry, trim close to the edge design. 

• You can run the color wheels through a laminator or just apply clear packaging tape over 
them. This will increase the durability and strength of the color wheels. 

• Laminate both sides of the color wheel. Trim off excess tape. 

• From the iron-on transfer print, cut out the separate panels for the sides of the resistor 
helper. You should have two pieces, the 4-band and 5-band sides. 

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Adafruit Resistor Helper Tie 

Step 3 

• Like genuine Arduinos, be wary of labeling found on your products. 

• Time to start dissecting the tie. Use a seam ripper tool since that is almost as good as a 
scalpel in working with delicate tie material. Okay, we've got real polyester here instead of 

• Break the bar tack that holds the back of the tie together near the bottom. Splay the tie out 
up to where the tie holder label is. You might need to free up a side of the label too. 

• Using one of the resistor holder side panels as a size guide, position it on the tie so that 
you can see you have access to that much of the tie. 

• You can place the resistor helper on either side of the tie. The preference is determined by 
which hand the wearer will prefer to use to access the thumbwheels. 

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Adafruit Resistor Helper Tie 

Step 4 

• There is a piece of thick fabric inside that is the interfacing or stiffener for the tie. We need 
to cut out the portion where the color wheels need to be seen on both sides of the tie. 

• Transfer the markings where the color wheel windows will be to the interfacing. 

• Cut out that piece of interfacing. 

• We need to restore structure to the tie by applying a piece of fusible interfacing to the tie's 
outer fabric where the original tie interfacing has been removed. This also reinforces the 
tie fabric so we can cut out the windows for the color and number values. Also, the paper 
fasteners will be inserted through there. 

• Cut a piece of fusible interfacing the size of the side panels. Fold in half and mark the fold 
so it is easier to see. 

• Line the interfacing up with the fold in the edge of the tie. I had to trim the front a bit so it 
would not intefere with the seam and fabric tie liner at the point. 

• Apply heat with a clothes iron set a moderate heat to bond the fusible interfacing. 

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Adafruit Resistor Helper Tie 

Step 5 

• Test to see how your iron transfers will work. I cut out the QR code and applied it to the tie 

• Line up the side panel iron-on transfers on the tie to see where they will be applied. 

• On the back of the tie, the transfer bled over the back of the tie seam. I applied it in place 
and then cut it open after the iron-on transfer cooled. You still need access to the inside of 
the tie. It will line up nicely when sewn back together. 

• It is easier to apply the back panel first because you can line it up by seeing where the 
interfacing cutout is. Tack in place along the edge first. Place a piece of parchment paper 
as a cover liner to keep the iron-on transfer from sticking to the iron. 

• Fold the rest of the tie in place and complete applying the back panel iron-on transfer. 

• Open up the tie and lay it flat. Line up the opposite side panel. Apply iron-on transfer with 
the clothes iron and parchment paper cover layer. 

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Adafruit Resistor Helper Tie 

Step 6 

• Use a sharp razor knife to cut out the color wheel windows and tab openings. 

• Ensure that there are no hanging chads so that the count will be accurate. 

• Use an awl or something sharp to poke holes for the paper fasteners. Using a drill or drill 
press would be overkill. 

Step 7 

• As suggested, clipping off a bit of the paper fasteners makes them less obtrusive. I used 
tinsnips which left a rough sharp edge that I had to file and sand off. 

• Work the fasteners in place through the tiny holes you poked with the awl. 

• Use the awl to poke holes for the fasteners in the color wheels. Have them arranged in the 
order you will be placing them in the resistor holder. Poking a hole in the center of the 
color wheel destroys the reference label so have them oriented facing the way they will be 

• Refer back to your reference printout one more time to make sure where the color wheels 

• Mount the color wheels. 

• Push the fasteners to the other side of the tie. Split the ends and press flat to secure. 

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Adafruit Resistor Helper Tie 

Step 8 

• Nurse, time to sew back up the open seam that was created to access the inside of the tie. 

• Here is the completed tie with Adafruit's Resistor Helper. 

• The front of the tie is the 4-band resistor reference. On the back is the 5-band resistor 

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Adafruit Resistor Helper Tie 

Step 9 

• Proper knot with corporate dimple. 

• Engineer knot. 

• Impress the gang at karaoke night with your resistor value divining skills. 

• Use as a conversation starter or indulge in games of resistor pong. 

• Need to decode the color stripes on a resistor? Usually you can say "There is an app for 
that" but now you can say "There is a tie for that!" 

• CAUTION: As with all ties, do not wear when working near machinery, open flames, or 
eating soup. 

This document was last generated on 2012-11-02 04:47:52 PM. 

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